On Spiritual Formation Done Right: A Reader’s Story

I get emails —

Jay, I read your son’s post and it prompted me to reflect on my own life ~ and that’s why I’m sharing it with you ~ although you already know most of it.  (He’s so bright! Thank him for me.)  Somehow it seemed appropriate that I put down on paper the story of my own past few years.  Maybe it will simply go into the file for progeny ~ my granddaughter perhaps.  And maybe it will be tossed.  We are our own most personal frame of reference, and I do like to remember what the Lord has done in me, as the song says.  It fills me up.

Thank you always for your part.


Reflections on a Birthday

Today I am 66 years old.  I’ve led a charmed life in every aspect ~ emotional, physical, educational, material and intellectual, for the most part.  Religiously, I have the best of credentials as a member of the Church of Christ. Continue reading

On Spiritual Formation Done Right, Part 1

Three powerful posts on the same topic popped up in my Google Reader.

The first one is from some kid named Chris Guin (strange last name) who’s in Boston and about to see his dad on vacation. Remarkably precocious that kid is. I could never have written such a profound thought at his age. Whither Perseverance.

The second is a video posted by Bobby Valentine, dealing with the same topic. God Is Enough.

(You can’t skip the links.)

(Psa 73)  A psalm of Asaph. Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold.

3 For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4 They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. 5 They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills. Continue reading

The Good and Bad of Spiritual Formation, Part 2

I’m going to try to wrap this up by answering some questions.

Aren’t you aware of the long tradition in Christianity of spiritual disciplines designed to bring our hearts into closer alignment with God’s will? How can you discount so much of our history and so many great teachers?

Maybe I’m misunderstanding what’s going on here, but this emphasis on spiritual disciplines reminds of the Pietism movement within Lutheranism, which influenced much of the rest of Christianity profoundly. Pietism was in response to the perception that Lutheranism had become too academic, too caught up in doctrine, and not sufficiently interested in the individual Christian having a regenerate heart. Continue reading

The Good and Bad of Spiritual Formation (Being Formed within God’s Mission)

As I read the material quoted in the last post, I have two reactions. First, it’s indisputably true that in many churches a portion of the membership is not particularly Christ-like. There are often very few differences between the lost and the saved. It’s not an impressive “transformation” for many. And so, I certainly agree with Willard and Foster that we need to deal with that problem.

However, I just don’t see the Willard-Foster version of spiritual formation as a sufficient solution or even quite the right solution. Continue reading